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PENN study emphasizes need for national guidelines for assisted reproductive technology programs

aled that " the majority of the ART programs believe that they have the right and responsibility to screen candidates before providing them with assisted reproductive technologies to conceive a child the key value being that they ensure a prospective child's safety and welfare and not risk the welfare of the prospective mother."

The study also found that there was a significant variation across programs in their reported likelihood of turning away candidates. The researchers found, for instance, that when program directors were addressed with a hypothetical situation in which the prospective "mom" in a couple was addicted to marijuana, 33% of the programs said they would accept the couple for ART services, whereas 47% of programs would have denied that couple access. The researchers also found that a couple on welfare is as likely to be granted access as they are to be denied. "The frequency of these variations highlight the need for a formal policy and common guidelines for candidate screening utilized by all ART facilities," states co-author Arthur Caplan, PhD, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at Penn's School of Medicine.

The study began in 2001 when a six-member expert panel -- which included infertility specialists, an obstetrician/gynecologist, bioethicists, and a clinical psychologist from an ART clinic -- developed a survey and refined it into a final questionnaire. A total of 210 out of 369 ART program directors responded to the anonymous, self-administered, mailed questionnaire.

In addition to Drs. Gurmankin and Caplan, the research team included Andrea Braverman, PhD, from the Woman's Institute for Fertility, Endocrinology and Menopause, in Philadelphia.


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Contact: Tiffany Savickas
tiffany.savickas@uphs.upenn.edu
215-615-3353
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
18-Jan-2005


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